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I know "jack $h*t" but I'm lovin my traks :) -my s

Discussion in 'Recording' started by kats, Jun 9, 2005.

  1. kats

    kats Guest

    Really, I've only been recording seriously for about 4 months and I'm lovin' it. It's pure luck though. I'm sure this has been rehashed here a million times but I really want to post my experience.

    I have the opposite problem than most. I'm so into the music, I love all the tracks...even the clams - I have to force myself to look for trouble :D

    The reality is that there's a big difference if your recording your own band (like me) or recording other people. I already know exactly the sound I'm looking for before I hit record - it's in my head. Because I'm a musician FIRST and only a wannabe "producer/engineer" my focus has always been the music and the band. I'm a HUGE gearhead - but, I'm into instruments. I have the best guitars and amps money can buy and the rest of the band is totally into the tone of their instruments. We jam and just nail the sounds we love. We eq the band as best we can using the instruments/amps themselves.

    The next stage was tuning the room. We heard some bad sounds and noticed some of the gear didn't sound like themselves referenced by other room we have played in. So we bought some bass traps and diffusers and pissed around like that until the band sounded good playing live in the the room.

    Now we do a little test recording to see how it get's represented. We listen to it, take some notes, adjust our intruments accordingly, and re-test. For eg, we just weren't happy with the snare, so we demoed about 5 snares to see which one sounded and recorded the way we imagined it should be.

    Then came the mic choices. We opted to get a couple of high end mics instead of a bunch of cheapos to compliment the cheapos we already had. On guitars for eg, we demoed a Sm57(of course) an MD421, a u195, a tlm 103, a tlm 127 and various cheapos we had lying around. I still have a file with 20 tracks of guitar sounds using these mics at different placements hehe. Our choices were easy - which mic captured the the original sound with the truest representation. We did the same for drums etc.

    When it came to pres, we knew nothin...and probably still don't - so we went for image and vibe :D We play rock so the Chandler TG2 seemed romantic enough so we bought that. We also bought an La-610 - cause it has tubes hehehehe and the company history was romantic as well. Turns out these pres colored our recordings a bit, but in a nice way. Kind of complimented the vintage sound we get out of our intsruments, so we were happy.

    Now we're ready to record for real - and we lay down tracks and everybody is looking at eachother - like WOW! We did that??? So when it came time to mix and eq etc...we were looking at eachother - hmmm what should we eq?? It sounded good already. What about compression....hmmm the drums were punching hard already cause.....the drummer just plays tight and hard and it came through. Ok forget that then. Well dammit we gotto eq somthing hehehe. So we did the obligatory HP's etc that we read here we should do...but it wasn't such a big difference because we had already decided before we tracked where the instruments should be "eq wise" in the mix and adjusted accordingly. Besides, we know dick about eq-ing and would have probably messed up anyhow. We referenced our recording against some of our favorite productions and found ours lacking slightly in presence & volume. We decided we leave that to the mastering and get that done proffessionally - it's not that expensive.

    Onto vocals. Now that's another can of worms. We don't have that down yet and it's going to take some practice, but what the hell - we know the songs and at this point we just let a proffesional do the vocals for us in a studio and perhaps learn something and get some advice on our mixes.

    There's a point somewhere that I was going to make :wink:

    Right...our experience has been, if your a musician focus on that strength. Get the tones out of your instruments, amps, and TECHNIQUE. This is your strong point! Our weak point is our engineering skills so we tried to take as much of that out of the equation as possible. Once we reached our limits, we looked to the pro's. Having said that, everytime you lay down new tracks you push your boundries that much further, but the better you play and sound the easier the production side will be for you.
  2. Benji

    Benji Guest

    Can anyone explain step by step ( I'm a new user of the Alesis Masterlink ), how I adjust the " gain" settings... my CD's are coming out so low in volume that they can hardly be heard on any system trying to play the CD.

    I've been told it's the "gain ", but how do I get to that setting on the ML-9600 front panel, and what should it be set at?

    HELP!!!!! Please!

  3. Reggie

    Reggie Distinguished Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    Thread hijacking aside, it sounds like you have the right idea pretty much. Track EQ is a crutch. But if you found a way to record drums without EQing anything, let me know how. I don't suppose you are being tricked by your monitors(hopefully not computer/stereo speakers) are you? What are you using for monitors?
  4. kats

    kats Guest

    I'm using Tannoy Reveals with a separate power amp. Not the best, but not bad - you get used to translating them. The tracks sound great through home and car stereos as well.

    Re: The snare.

    The drums are mic'd with 2 O/H's (Josepson C42's), 1 kick (d12e), and two room mics. Since the room sounds good, the kit sounds good, and the drummer is good, we get a great sound and you can't really eq it with much precision anyhow(I should say that I wouldn't know how) due to the mic technique. Obviously it has a certain vibe that might not work for all types of music but it works for us.

    My point in the original post ( which was basically me being quite excited outloud) is:

    Alot of home recorders are musicians with tons of experience with their instrument. My feeling is that if you focus on that, or rather don't forget what your really good at - you can make up for alot of short comings on your engineering skills. For eg, if your not happy with your guitar sound you have to decide if that's the right guitar for the job, are you using proper strings - maybe they're too light. What about the amp, the speaker, the tubes? IE focus on what you know and you'll be way ahead in the game because your relying on years of expereince being a musician and not your lack of engineering experience.
  5. Reggie

    Reggie Distinguished Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    Right on, Right on. I guess I was thinking more about close miking toms too, which I guess you don't. I use C42's also :cool: ; just wish I had a room to record in that I could say sounded good. :cry:
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Excellent! My point has always been...the room is the most important piece and then mics.And these are the first part of the actual GEAR! Before that its having the songs DOWN,being clever with your arrangements and never trying to make it sound any different than it sounds live.And you guys picked very excellent and discreet types of gear to work what you already knew was good.Theres really no amount of gear that can adequately compensate for a bad sounding room. And as we all know, the harder you hit a bad room with instrument volume, the worse its gonna get.

    Heres one for ya.Since you dont mind messing with basic acoustics, for vocals, build an environment for them too.Find a great sounding section of your existing room and build around it with portable gobos or whatever is going to contain the vocal to point of it having a personality you like and giving you control over the TONE without need of EQ or even effect.When it sounds big going down without ANYTHING in the processing, its going to sound HUGE at mix.No square perpendicular surfaces and alternate the type of surfaces....hard and soft.You'll know when it comes alive.Listen as you have so far! Good luck!

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